Mindful eating is not about giving anything up. It’s not a diet. It is about enjoying food more intensely. You can eat a double cheeseburger mindfully, if you choose to. You would probably enjoy it a lot more than if you had guilt around it. Or you might decide, halfway through, that your body has had enough. Or that it really needs something green, like some vegetables.
Mindful eating is not just some new-fangled buzz word or trend. There is actual research behind it. At the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, Prof. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, and Slim by Design, has conducted scores of experiments on the psychological factors that lead to our proclivity to binge eating. Dr. Wansink was a guest on Fork in the Road’s 2016 What the Fork? expert interview series. If you missed it, go to HERE for the 30-minute audio interview. It’s enlightening!
An exercise to get you started
Want to take a low-risk test drive of the concept of mindful eating?
Start by picking three simple foods that have very contrasting flavors. Examples might be a tiny piece of dark chocolate, a teaspoon of almond butter, a kalamata olive. (Other ideas: a raisin, a small strawberry, a sliver of flax cracker). Sit down with these less-than-even-a-bite-sized samples of your three choices and look at them. Pick them up, one at a time. Taste them with your eyes, then by smelling. Rub them on your lips. Smell again, and finally allow each one of the food samples a turn to enter your mouth. Make the three samples last as long as you can. Food is meant to be enjoyed and savored, not devoured in record time. This exercise will help you remember to be mindful and to engage with your food.